Black Titli

They think they understand things because they become familiar with them. This is only superficial knowledge. It is the knowledge of the astronomer who knows the names of the stars, the botanist who knows the classification of the leaves and flowers, the artist who knows the aesthetics of green and red. This is not to know nature itself- the earth and sky, green and red. Astronomer, botanist, and artist have done no more than grasp impressions and interpret them, each within the vault of his own mind. The more involved they become with the activity of the intellect, the more they set themselves apart and the more difficult it becomes to live naturally.

The Preacher: Ruminates behind the Sermon

I think it must be lonely to be God. Nobody loves a master. No. Despite The bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords, and bright Determined reverence of Sunday eyes. Picture Jehovah striding through the hall Of His importance, creatures running out From servant-corners to acclaim, to shout Appreciation of His merit's glare. But who walks with Him?—dares to take His arm, To clap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear, Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer, Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool? Perhaps—who kn...
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Rise

Uncertain, timid, guarded taking as little space as possible a predefined space an implied space for a thousand years is it claustrophobic? or ugly? or unfair? or isolating? or insulting? or binding? or plain slavery? is it terrifying in a hundred different ways? is it even visible? sometimes, the worst prisons are invisible the ones we vet used to prisons of apathy of inertia of hopelessness and of 'tradition'. The space is invaluable it has to be bigger the emotion - anxieties, tears, love, f...
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Burning Blue Eyes

Some incoherent words shouted out with intensity. It is impossible to say if it's excitement or anger and the only reason to believe that it's something serious is the eyes blazing and burning into mine the unkempt face, the beard clothes too big, pants falling off a stench that hits my senses do the words mean anything? no one is waiting around to listen is he sane? that's an absurd question this man in the street downtown this busy street in this 'developed' country his look, his voice, his e...
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The Friend

We sat across the table. he said, cut off your hands. they are always poking at things. they might touch me. I said yes. Food grew cold on the table. he said, burn your body. it is not clean and smells like sex. it rubs my mind sore. I said yes. I love you, I said. That’s very nice, he said I like to be loved, that makes me happy. Have you cut off your hands yet? Marge Piercy ...
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Two Legs Bad, Six Legs Good—Sontag Worse!

Am I a redundant human being? A question asked by many a novel—many a novelist—but rarely so explicitly, and not usually on the front cover. But that’s the title of Mela Hartwig’s novella, written in 1931 and now reissued by Dalkey Press, and it works like a life buoy, alerting us to a writer drowning in obscurity. Born in Vienna in 1893, Hartwig was an actress before becoming a writer; she married Dr. Robert Spira, an art historian and critic, and when the Anschluss came, the couple escaped to ...
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Alte Frau by Balthasar Denner

Strange to be writing on painting the day after John Berger died. In fact I was asked to do this a long time ago, I am far past my deadline, but it is only now, the day after Berger died, that I find myself sitting down to write it. Berger was ninety. I would say Balthasar Denner’s Alte Frau is ninety, too, or thereabouts. I never met Berger. This summer I considered a trip, with a mutual friend, to his home in Antony, in the southern suburbs of Paris, but I was staying in the sixth, the city wa...
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Find your Beach

Across the way from our apartment—on Houston, I guess—there’s a new wall ad. The site is forty feet high, twenty feet wide. It changes once or twice a year. Whatever’s on that wall is my view: I look at it more than the sky or the new World Trade Center, more than the water towers, the passing cabs. It has a subliminal effect. Last semester it was a spot for high-end vodka, and while I wrangled children into their snowsuits, chock-full of domestic resentment, I’d find myself dreaming of cold Mar...
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The Replacements

Jack London drinking his life away while writing of strange and heroic men. Eugene O'Neil drinking himself oblivious while writing his dark and poetic works. now our moderns lecture at universities in tie and suit, the little boys soberly studious, the little girls with glazed eyes looking up, the laws so green, the books so dull, the life so dying of thirst. Charles Bukowski ...
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The Shoelace

a woman, a tire that’s flat, a disease, a desire: fears in front of you, fears that hold so still you can study them like pieces on a chessboard… it’s not the large things that send a man to the madhouse. death he’s ready for, or murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood… no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies that send a man to the madhouse… not the death of his love but a shoelace that snaps with no time left … The dread of life is that swarm of trivialities that can kill quicker than ca...
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A Call to the Manly Men

The history of the world the history of men overwhelming, uncontested Alexander "the great" Buddha and Christ Socrates, Plato and Aristotle Moses and Mohammed Genghis Khan Dracula and Shakespeare Mozart and Beethoven Voltaire and Newton Nietzsche and Freud Roosevelt and Gandhi Picasso and Tagore Hitler and Einstein emperors, prophets, gods writers, philosophers politicians, musicians real and fictional men poets, artists great murderers lone geniuses compassionate conquerors benevolent...
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The Normal Heart

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness...” Cervantes, Don Quixote As we walked out, my friend asks me "how many times did you cry?". I'm not sure how to answer that, she answers her own question - 3 times. The actors and crew are all there as I walk out with shy, almost guilty murmurs of "good job", "great performance", "well done". Once outside, another friend asks "what do you think?"...
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The Master

Man, the master of nature in control of everything the cult of efficiency with time, with fuel and resources with people and emotion crafting the perfect day planned and executed crafting the perfect home the perfect environment 2 inches of grass, 6 pots of plants forests and the wild restricted to this or that area animals-pets, neutered and trained and groomed a commodity, a human `hobby' good for entertainment good for companionship good for business rules, rules, rules to walk, to eat to...
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The Workers

They laugh continually even when a board falls down and destroys a face or distorts a body they continue to laugh, when the color of the eye becomes a fearful pale because of the poor light they still laugh; wrinkled and imbecile at an early age they joke about it: a man who looks sixty will say I’m 32, and then they’ll laugh they’ll all laugh; they are sometimes let outside for a little air but are chained to return by chains they would not break if they could; even outside, among free men they...
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Dead and Gone

he was a normal guy married when was supposed to had kids when he was supposed to was lazy about work but loved kids, all kids the wife was hard he had to make do she was, in parts - vicious and loving nagging and caring a necessary pain in the ass a pain he got used to the grocery store guy the plumber, the electrician people in the mosque and near his house in his community the sweeper and the guy who cleaned the drains he asked after them all and heard their stories he had no grand achievem...
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The Talkers

the boy walks with his muddy feet across my soul talking about recitals, virtuosi, conductors, the lesser known novels of Dostoevsky; talking about how he corrected a waitress, a hasher who didn’t know that French dressing was composed of so and so; he gabbles about the Arts until I hate the Arts, and there is nothing cleaner than getting back to a bar or back to the track and watching them run, watching things go without this clamor and chatter, talk, talk, talk, the small mouth going, the eyes...
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How to save the world

begin with an idea it must be absolute conviction so strong that it burns not a personal idea but one for humanity do not listen to anything opposing and do only what aids on road to the one goal learn tricks and deception learn to lie and make money make tactical friends and don't bother about enemies eliminate them or subsume them remember, you know what is best everyone else is in the herd and you will be the shepherd like god's tortured son use them at will as cattle make your goal noble an...
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We're doing what we can

"we're doing what we can" he said he was sincere, he believed it like the captain of the drowning ship who minimizes casualties this situation is worse it is not quick death it is the living in distress for prolonged periods of time slaving away in pointlessness becoming experts at mediocrity, learning conceit and morality side by side with dreams of greatness which will never be achieved only more dense writing more "education" more "progress" more delusional captains and battered passengers to...
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We can't save you

the more they came for you the more of god you saw he was your solace your isolation, disaffection and your tedium your own proselytizing family stood with you guiding you to that faith a faith that used to be more habitual than sincere now it has you it surrounds you and bathes you your thoughts, your decisions pulling you away from us putting you on the back foot making you desperate in other ways pitching itself against sentiment we left you behind we did not have the time and now we see wi...
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You have potential?

It is normal waking up to silence to go long periods without human touch to put work not fulfilling work, not absorbing work before things more basic home and connection familiarity and joy love and desire formal tedious work with future promises always that future the selling of the soul for a dream future probably all illusion held hostage nonetheless by visionary prophets constantly barking "do this, do that!.." "you have potential.." at what cost! at what fucking cost!? ...
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Dreary days

on dreary days like this it takes just a sound a memory a scent, a line to fall apart completely the unabashed snow is relentless turning it all white even the blue sky is hidden the birds have a canvas but they're quiet the silence is thick the wind breaks it sometimes but not gently it is menacing, like a knife and as night falls it is absolutely obvious I'm the only one in the world I can't wait to close my eyes to find some respite for now until tomorrow ...
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The Young Poets of Winnipeg

scurried around a classroom papered with poems. Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase… they introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage to read their work, blessed their teacher who encouraged them to stretch, wouldn’t let their parents attend the reading because parents might criticize, believed in the third and fourth eyes, the eyes in the undersides of leaves, the polar bears a thousand miles north, and sprouts of grass under the snow. They knew their poems were glorious, tha...
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Friday Night

I'm in this huge house, all alone. M is gone for the weekend. I have an amazing drink in my hand, I'm playing music on M's powerful music system. The ambience is perfect. Then why is it that the past is like a hologram around me. I can't look beyond it, I don't want to be here. We will bring in fish from V today and get some old monk on the way. We make sure that there is no one else joining us. It's one of those days, I want to talk to you, no holds barred. You're delayed because of your tu...
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Note 68

“Somebody," said Jacques, "your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour - and in the oddest places! - for the lack of it.” James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room It is an uncanny day. The outdoors look gorgeous bathed in partial white, the sun hasn't been shy and the wind for once is not out to tear me apart. The usual hunt for meaning, for something to do and finding the pointlessness in things tha...
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No one died

The world lay gasping for breath air is expensive and elusive people dead for the lack of it floating, unmarked, in the river no place for them not on paper not in the ground nor enough fuel to burn them did they die even? who can say? not the ones who knew them and definitely not the intellectuals the yogi sold his cure and he who must not be named, sold himself people came in the thousands for food, for money for pride, for entertainment in need, in desperation in intoxication they came, the...
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Ephemerality of love, Immortality of Guru Dutt

For a while now, I actively seek out movies that trust me to understand the story without having to stuff every. single. thing. down. my. throat. The kind of movies which don’t assume the average IQ of the viewer to be 17. You understand what I am saying- you know when Karan Johar shows us every quiver of Shah Rukh’s lips (in close up, lest you miss it) when he is in the hospital, every single sinew in his strained neck. THE HERO IS IN PAIN…YOU GET IT? ADD THE MELANCHOLIC MUSIC, DAMMIT! (stole...
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Insanity

Someone robbed a bank had friends in high places someone stole food or ran away with the wrong person was paraded and lynched someone was a mob boss reached great status held important social positions someone wanted to use compassion was dragged through the mud someone used ribald slogans and noise was cheered and accepted someone used ideas and poise was booed and thrown out someone ruled with arrogance deaf to the voices around was hailed and worshipped someone ruled with caution and advice...
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Thoughts on Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Some movies, as do some books, leave us with a high, ensuing numbness from the incumbent reality. Transport us into their world and then end, selfishly, leaving us behind. Some of these linger in our sub-conscience for days, and one story that has stayed with me is ‘Portrait of a lady on fire’. This passage is not a movie review, not an analysis of the characters, but a note of what the movie left me with! It would be ironic, if the movie were to be written about volubly as, fundamentally the m...
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The History of One Tough Motherfucker

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and terrorized a white cross-eyed tailless cat I took him in and fed him and he stayed grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway and ran him over I took what was left to a vet who said, "not much chance…give him these pills…his backbone is crushed, but it was crushed before and somehow mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at these x-rays, he's been shot, look here, the pellets are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody cut i...
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Ghost

The ghost and I, we shared some space sometimes she found me and sometimes I her sometimes I reached out, in longing it was futile, the ghost was fleeting there was no pattern, no semblance to her moods that I could understand sometimes she reached out, in hope? of perhaps some tenderness and camaraderie? or of friendship and intimacy? maybe it was all of them or maybe I'm delusional in happiness then let me feed into this delusion hope is a good thing, the best of things I hope ghosts can still...
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The View from Halfway down

The weak breeze whispers nothing The water screams sublime His feet shift, teeter-totter Deep breath, stand back, it’s time Toes untouch the overpass Soon he’s water bound Eyes locked shut but peek to see The view from halfway down A little wind, a summer sun A river rich and regal A flood of fond endorphins Brings a calm that knows no equal You’re flying now You see things much more clear Than from the ground It’s all okay, or it would be Were you not now halfway down Thrash to break from ...
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